BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX) today announced the appointment of Jeffrey A. Chodakewitz, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President. Dr. Chodakewitz has more than 20 years of experience leading global development organizations in the biopharmaceutical industry, including roles as Senior Vice President of late-stage global development and Vice President of early-stage development at Merck. As head of Vertex's Global Medicines Development and Medical Affairs department, he will oversee all global clinical development programs, medical affairs and other related functions. Following a planned transition period, Vertex's current Chief Medical Officer, Robert Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., will retire from the company in the second half of 2014. Dr. Kauffman served in senior roles in clinical development during his more than 15 years at Vertex and has been Vertex's Chief Medical Officer since 2009.
"I'd like to thank Bob Kauffman for his many significant contributions to Vertex and his unwavering commitment to bringing new medicines to people with hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis," said Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex. "As Bob transitions toward his retirement from Vertex later this year, I am excited to welcome Jeff Chodakewitz to our team. Jeff brings deep and broad experience in leading successful development efforts for medicines across multiple diseases. His experience will be invaluable to our current research and development efforts in cystic fibrosis and other serious diseases."
"I've been deeply impressed by Vertex's innovative approach to developing new medicines and the company's ability to put science and patients at the core of its business," said Dr. Chodakewitz. "I look forward to joining the Vertex team as we seek to help more people with cystic fibrosis as well as patients with other serious diseases."
Prior to joining Vertex, Dr. Chodakewitz spent over 20 years at Merck Research Laboratories where he held multiple leadership roles in clinical pharmacology and oversaw clinical development and program regulatory strategy. During his time at Merck, Dr. Chodakewitz led the worldwide development and approval activities for Crixivan® for the treatment of HIV infection, Gardasil® for the prevention of cervical cancer and Zostavax® for the prevention and reduction in morbidity of zoster. Prior to Merck, Dr. Chodakewitz held multiple roles in academia and was an Associate Investigator for the Veterans Administration Medical Center, an Associate Research Scientist for the Yale University School of Medicine and Head of the HIV Outpatient Clinic for the Veterans Administration Medical Center in West Haven, CT. Dr. Chodakewitz received a B.S. in Biochemistry from Yale University and his M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine.
Vertex is a global biotechnology company that aims to discover, develop and commercialize innovative medicines so people with serious diseases can lead better lives. Vertex scientists and our collaborators are working on new medicines to cure or significantly advance the treatment of cystic fibrosis, hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis and other life-threatening diseases. In addition to our clinical development programs, Vertex has more than a dozen ongoing preclinical programs aimed at other serious and life-threatening diseases.
Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex today has research and development sites and commercial offices in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. For four years in a row, Science magazine has named Vertex one of its Top Employers in the life sciences. For additional information and the latest updates from the company, please visit www.vrtx.com.
Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, the statements in the second and third paragraphs of this press release. While Vertex believes the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are accurate, there are a number of factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Those risks and uncertainties include, among other things, the risks listed under Risk Factors in Vertex's annual report and quarterly reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available through the company's website at www.vrtx.com. Vertex disclaims any obligation to update the information contained in this press release as new information becomes available.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
Zach Barber or Liz Lukegord, 617-341-6992
Michael Partridge, 617-341-6108
Kelly Lewis, 617-961-7530